Patterns of Silence

Just a quick note based on something I wrote to a friend’s daughter about problems in Kashmir. A Jungian tale I recently heard, a marker for our times.

Once there was a severe drought in a village. There was no water, so all vegetation died, and there was no food for people. The cattle started dying as well; life was hard. Someone said that in a village far away lived a Rainman who had a divine gift of bringing rain.

The village elders travelled far on foot to seek his help and invited him to their vllage. He came in silence, and put up a tent in the middle of the village square, and sealed himself in. There was no word, no sound, not a whisper from within the tent.

One day passed – but there no rain. The villagers started getting restless. They expected him to light fires, chant,dance, invoke their slumbering raingods. Another day passed – still no sound from the tent. No rain either. The people started getting really anxious. Third day passed, no worship, no chanting, no invoking the gods, no Rainman. Just stillness and quiet. Absolute silence.

By now the people had had enough. So some of them went into the tent, angry, and demanded an explanation for his inactivity. He only smiled in his quietude. Some of them got frustrated and told the guy that he was no good, and that he needed to go away.

The Rainman quietly started packing is bags, and folding down his tent, preparing to leave. The village watched with mixed feelings of rage and despondence – if only he invoked their gods, they would have rain. But he didn’t seem to want to do it.

Suddenly, out on the horizon, the dark clouds began gathering and moving towards the village. In time, there was rain. The people were happy and apologised to the Rainman, asking him how he had brought about the change.  The Rainman continued packing the last of his belonging into the bag, and when he was done, he smilingly spoke his first words in over five days:  “healing unfolds in the stillness, only when there is silence at the center.”

In the world today, there is much egotistical chatter. No silence, no stillness.  And hence, our internal and external life is prevented from unfolding its patterns. The Rainman is a metaphor for our Self, and he brings forth gifts of healing in and through a centered silence.

This Thanksgiving, lets be grateful for all we have, and then lets close our eyes and remain still for a while, striving for a moment of real silence, so that our Self, the center of our existence, can experience the gift of quietude.

Happy Thanksgiving all.



3 responses to “Patterns of Silence”

  1. Hi Karin,

    How wonderful to be in the middle of your own organised action. Our vocation is, after all, supposed to be like home. And yes the setting sounds wonderful.

    I will be spending Thanksgiving with family in San Jose – all kids thrown together. They have the entire week off.

    Silence – yes. It was the total absence of silence at the SFO airport that had caused me to almost hyperventilate two weeks ago. The lack was so….’assaultative’….to my senses that are so used to looooooooong spells of quietness.

    I have lately been wanting to write something about duality and non duality – of separation and unity. The words haven’t come yet, just experiences.

    I hope you enjoy your time at the farmhouse. It sounds wonderful.



    1. Hi Madhu
      Yes airports are terrible places, I feel assaulted before I have even spent 11 hours on the plane. I am always so relieved to get home – but not necessarily to my destination away from home. Where I live silence is plentiful. That is rare in this world, and I usually find my destination disturbingly noisy.
      This week I will be spending each evening at a different concert venue (one is my own home!), Saturday will be the most splendid, my friend’s specially designed yoga studio turned into a concert hall – with an amazing Indian vegetarian feast to follow. Looking forward to the end of the week and quite a strange journey for me in all sorts of ways…
      I hope your Thanksgiving is lovely, this is the day of the year when I wish I were home (still, my home is inside for this day and all others).


  2. Thank you, Madhu, for this story, which is also reminiscent of The Alchemist. I agree with your comments about chatter in the world, and the importance of silence and stillness. Once again, your post gives rise to thoughts about my own writing, this time a piece about silence I wrote years ago, which I will post on my blog sometime in the not too distant future. I am still writing my post inspired by your previous one, to go up very soon.
    Happy Thanksgiving. I will be spending it at the fourth of a series of home concerts I have organised all happening this week, Thursday’s in a rambling English farmhouse in the middle of nowhere – the perfect setting and soundtrack for my favourite holiday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: